Groundbreaking held for new law enforcement center

Family members of Troy M. Hogue — the fallen Texas Department of Public Safety trooper whose name has adorned the Big Spring Police Department's law enforcement center for many years now — broke ground on the joint law enforcement center that will bear his name Wednesday during an emotional ceremony.With both Howard County and Big Spring officials looking on, members of Hogue's family turned the first ceremonial spades of earth at the site of the proposed law enforcement center, which will be added on to the newly constructed Howard County Detention Center, located on the city's west side.The project, a joint venture between the county and the city, will eventually house both the Howard County Sheriff's Office and the Big Spring Police Department, a move BSPD Chief Lonnie Smith said called a giant step in the right direction for the citizens of the Crossroads area.“Having both law enforcement agencies under the same roof means better service for the citizens the county and the city. To have the Hogues here today and to have them take part in this ceremony means a great deal to us,” an emotional Smith told the audience.The project — which is estimated to cost approximately $2.7 million, with the city of Big Spring chipping in $1.7 million and the county picking up the balance — got under way earlier this month.Jeff Heffelfinger, architect with Southwest Architects who also helped design and oversee construction of the new detention center, is also handling this project.According to County Judge Mark Barr, the project could be completed as soon as six months from now, depending on how weather conditions cooperate.“If we don't have any weather delays or problems with materials, we could see the project completed as early as six months,” Barr said. “For the sake of the construction project we're saying eight months, but we're hopeful it could be as early as six months.”